Coffey sneaks through tough plan to push 114,000 Universal Credit claimants into jobs while Parliament is in recess

Therese Coffey :Pic credit: gov.uk

The Department of Work and Pensions is to tighten the rules significantly to force 114,000 existing Universal Credit claimants into work as job vacancies soar across Britain.

She is changing the rules so far more people will have to go on what is known as an intensive work search regime where they will be monitored continually by work coaches on how many jobs they have applied for and why they didn’t get them.

Therese Coffey has been planning to do this since January this year and consulted the Social Security Advisory Committee, chaired by the architect of Universal Credit, Stephen Brien, on January 26.

Ian Caplan, DWP’s Director of Employment, Youth and Skills

A letter to the committee from Ian Caplan, director of employment, youth and skills said:

“The Secretary of State wishes to bring in the change as soon as practically possible…for providing immediate support to low-earning households to increase incomes at a time of immense cost of living pressures…. By bringing these regulations into force as quickly as possible, including by laying the regulations in recess, the Department can start making the operational preparations”

SSAC kept decision secret for 8 months

The committee approved the idea on February 4th but agreed to keep the decision secret until last week when it published the minutes of a meeting between DWP officials and the committee.

To make the change the government is using a regulation to uprate what is known as the Administrative Earnings Threshold – a device which sets the level of benefit and earnings dividing those who only receive ” a light touch” regime – ie occasional checks whether they are seeking work – from their local job centre and those put on intensive work search programmes. Those who refuse or don’t co-operate properly with face benefit cuts as a sanction.

It will move the level from £355 to £494 a month for a single claimant and from £567 to £782 a month for a couple. At present some 250,000 people covered by the intensive work search programme are in work – this will increase the number by 50 percent. The government justify it by saying the new level brings it into line with recent rises in the national minimum wage for those in work.

What is more interesting – and perhaps why the minutes were withheld – is the question and answer session between the committee members and civil servants.

While the overall aim of the scheme is to get a higher income for the unemployed – by getting them work or more work for those in part time jobs – the DWP admit they have another agenda. Questioned about the current job vacancies level encouraging this move officials said: “the vacancies position the labour market is considered by some to be hot which could be driving inflation.”

In other words by getting more of the unemployed into work, employers would have a bigger pool of labour and would not have to offer higher wages or even compensate people for the rising cost of living.

Will the unemployed be recruited as strikebreakers?

There may now be an even more compelling reason as Therese Coffey wants this to be law from September 26, since the government plans to use agency workers to break the coming strike wave. What would suit ministers would be if the unemployed could be drafted in as agency workers leading to confrontation with striking workers on trains, buses, schools, the NHS, and the post office with shouts of ” scab” and bringing the police in to make mass arrests of strikers. A reminder of the miners’ strike.

There were other gems from the minutes – which in my view revealed the attitudes of the DWP and committee members

There was much questioning about the effect this could have on 16-24 year olds which suggested the programme could work for them. There was concern about the disabled – and an admission by the DWP that except in Yorkshire it had done hardly any research on how this could affect them.

DWP building

What was tellingly missing was the complete lack of interest from the DWP or committee members about the effects on people over the age of 50 and 60. The DWP didn’t even bother to give the committee a breakdown on them. But it is a fact that the rising of the pension age to 66 -particularly among women has seen a big increase in numbers on Universal Credit who can’t get jobs.

I really wonder whether this is prejudice. Women like Therese Coffey, who is 50, have had stellar careers and I wonder if they think women born in the 1950s and 1960s who are on the dole are failures or nonentities, don’t cause them a lot of trouble and don’t turn physically aggressive like some men. So they can be safely ignored. Certainly any thought about their plight or indeed any old person was spectacularly missing from discussion about this new drive.

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10 thoughts on “Coffey sneaks through tough plan to push 114,000 Universal Credit claimants into jobs while Parliament is in recess

  1. just allow the 1.4 million of us who can’t even get a bank account/ work/ claim benefits our lives back…that would pretty much fill all the vacancies would it not? it’s also far more expensive, surely, to torture us in mental prisons than actually give us a pittance to survive on?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It seems that the uk is impoverished And everyone is on the take Those on benefits for 5 years and not disabled should be moved to areas outside the main towns thus workers Would find renting easier Mike

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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  3. This woman is pure evil and should never be in charge of anything. I bet she is living the best life and has no disregard for anybody’s else who is suffering. I bet she doesn’t worry about putting food on the table or worries about her energy bills. I hope karma bites her ar– and she ends up in the same boat as a lot of people .

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Theresa Coffey is heartless. She doesn’t care about the 3.8m 1950s women who are still waiting for the Ombudsman to pull his finger out and deal speedily with the compensation for DWP maladministration. Theresa Coffey heads up a dept that is failing people in this country. She is sneaky and underhanded and needs to be held to account because she is useless.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Teresa Coffey’s is heartless, cold, doesn’t care, about the jobless and waspi women, she’s not a people’s person no heart, she was interviewed by adil ray on Friday on gmb, she was rude didn’t answer questions, just kept interrupting adil and belittling him through the interview.
    She should be sacked from her job, also she won’t be paying her gas and elec bill.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So the DWP can break rules and do what they like,. how can they do this when there is NO GOVERNMENT? Looks like you do not need a government you can change anything. Its all secrets, I hope the voters will remember what they have done, what goes rou d comes round, nobody in the government or DWP give a dam about people, because they are HIGHLY PAID!!!!

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  7. David, this is appalling, “intensive work search regime where they will be monitored continually by work coaches”. This has been designed by people who have never been out of work, had to work as contractors, or have reached the stage in their lives where they are too knackered to work. Why not just give people proper jobs with rights and pensions and allow older people to retire earlier if they train a younger person to do their job. I will get my crystal ball out and predict this scheme is going to cost ten times more than paying people universal credit.

    Like

  8. Dear David Hencke,
    Tories have never cared about the poor, in work or not, in their history.

    Tories never created the welfare state in the first place and have been butchering it away in every government.

    Will you ever do a blog, please, on my Grey Swans’ campaign to bring about our new Over 50s (saves all ages) party, that would permanently solve this ever more dire cost of living crisis, and take men and women in their 50s and 60s out of this benefit cruelty.

    One of the policies of Over 50s party in government, is to wipe out mainstream media news on telly, radio and newspapers, and start afresh. This gives you the opportunity to get into mainstream media as a journalist.

    Contact me via my email address please.

    Like

  9. It seems the old adage is true, “absolute power corrupts absolutely”.
    Those in power at present, and in the very recent past, seem to be going out of their way to make life as miserable as possible for ordinary people. Despite all their rhetoric telling us they care, talk is cheap and their actions say otherwise.

    Like

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